2018 China-Africa summit: Kenya yields big with Chinese private investors for public partnership

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    President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to Beijing for the 2018 China-Africa summit scored big wins for Kenya with Chinese private investors lining up for public private partnership deals worth billions of Shillings.

    The new partnerships are seen as a quick result of Kenya’s desire to shift away from pure debt financing with new emphasis being placed on Public Private Partnerships and the need to explore innovative off balance sheet financing for the country’s infrastructure needs.


    Résumé en français: La visite du président Uhuru Kenyatta à Beijing pour le sommet Chine-Afrique en 2018 a été un grand succès pour le Kenya, les investisseurs privés chinois faisant la queue pour des accords de partenariat public-privé valant des milliards de shillings. Les nouveaux partenariats résultent rapidement de la volonté du Kenya de s’éloigner du simple financement par emprunt en mettant l’accent sur les partenariats public-privé et de la nécessité d’explorer des financements hors bilan innovants pour répondre aux besoins en infrastructures du pays.


    Kenya-China’s partnership expectations

    The major deals that Chinese private investors want to put their money into include several critical infrastructural projects including a 30 kilometre expressway running from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) across the city to Westlands, and for the development of Dongo Kundu industrial Special Economic Zone in Mombasa.


    Two major roads in North Eastern will also be constructed through the public private investments. The two roads, Modogashe-Habaswein-Samatar and Elwak-Rhamu road will cost KES 15 billion (Over USD 14 million) and would be constructed through partnership involving Chinese private companies under the Kenya government’s roads annuity program.


    The revelations came on a day that President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping witnessed the signing of more deals between Kenya and China.


    The agreements were signed at the Great Hall of the People where the two leaders held bilateral talks focusing on strengthening the comprehensive and strategic partnership existing between Kenya and China.


    The leaders discussed the construction of the Phase 2B of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) covering the section from Naivasha to Kisumu.


    Dig deep in the deals signed.

    On Monday evening, President Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta were among leaders from Africa who were hosted at State Banquet at the Great Hall of the People by President Xi. President Kenyatta was accompanied by Cabinet Secretaries Monica Juma (Foreign Affairs), Henry Rotich (National Treasury), James Macharia (Transport and Infrastructure) and Peter Munya (Trade and Industry). Others were the Principal Secretaries Kamau Thugge (National Treasury), Julius Korir (Infrastructure) and Esther Koimett (Transport).


    Earlier on Tuesday morning President Kenyatta attended a closed-door session bringing together the Chinese leadership and African Heads of State.


    During the meeting, the two leaders witnessed the signing of an agreement for funding the construction of the Western Bypass to complete the road network that was designed to ease the city’s perennial traffic problems.


    President Kenyatta and his Chinese counterpart also witnessed the signing of an agreement on Economic and Investment Cooperation under which Kenya will receive a grant of KES 4.5 billion (over USD 44 million) to guide the discussion and implementation of projects that involve both nations.


    Kenya and China further signed a Cooperation agreement within the Framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative that is being spearheaded by the Chinese Government, which aims to foster shared prosperity among nations.


    Uhuru Kenyatta.jpg

    President Kenyatta said Kenya appreciates China’s demonstrated commitment in supporting Kenya’s development goals.


    “It is my ambition that we shall continue to strengthen our strategic and comprehensive partnership,” said President Kenyatta.


    The cooperation between Kenya and China currently covers a range of sectors including agriculture, infrastructure, industrialization, technology transfer, energy, environmental protection, peace and security, capacity building, and people-to-people exchanges.


    The Sino-Kenya relationship has over the years been underpinned by regular high-level official visits between the two countries.

    “Kenya is satisfied with the tremendous progress achieved in our bilateral cooperation, and continues to open up new areas of cooperation,” said the President.


    Kenya-China partnership Achievements so far.

    The Kenyan Head of State said the high-point of the cooperation of the two nations is undoubtedly the SGR. He noted that the first section of the SGR Mombasa to Nairobi was completed before schedule and Kenya has begun to reap its benefits.



    The President said an important by-product of the SGR project is the accelerated human capacity building in the field of railway engineering. “My government appreciates your government’s commitment to develop, jointly with our Railway Training Institute, the appropriate vocational and technical skills to ensure optimal management of the rail network on a sustainable basis,” said the President.


    The University of Nairobi (UoN), Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC), and Beijing Jiaotong University signed a Memorandum of Understanding in support of training railway engineers and managers for SGR operations and management at the sidelines of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). The agreement was signed by the UoN Vice Chancellor Prof Peter Mbithi and KRC Ag Managing Director Philip Mainga.


    Further, President Kenyatta noted that the priorities identified in the next FOCAC cycle are aligned with the Kenya Government’s Big Four Agenda including Manufacturing, Food Security & Nutrition, Universal Health Care and Affordable Housing. “Each of these sectors offers viable investment opportunities.  I therefore welcome Chinese companies to invest in any of these priority areas,” said President Kenyatta.


    What do you expect of such Continental Partnerships? Is it a win win for all? If yes how for Africa and China?


    By Joseph Semuju

    Community Manager - AMO

    African Mobilities Observatory - AMO, MICHELIN.









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